Tourism in Puerto Rico is increasing steadily, with more than 3.7 million people visiting the country in 2016. Even after the onslaught of Hurricane Maria, visitors are still flocking to the Isle of Enchantment. There are countless reason why international visitors flock to the Caribbean island. Not only does the country boast a rich history and culture, but it is also home to some of the most enjoyable traditional music and rum in the entire world. It is also affectionately known as the ‘Dining Capital of the Caribbean’, promising locals and visitors alike a delicious array of exotic food and drinks that will appease even the most fastidious foodie.
You don’t have to travel far for exquisite cuisine
Although you can certainly jet off to exotic locations in search of culinary masterpieces, you don’t have to look any further than Puerto Rico to get your fix of fabulous food. Traditional Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in various cooking practices from across Africa, Europe, and the Tainos. As from the second half of the nineteenth century, the USA also started having a direct influence on what ingredients were used in conventional cooking. Today, when traveling across the island, there are a number of eateries that are definitely worth a visit.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan, with its cobblestoned streets and whimsical atmosphere, will leave you spoiled for choice as far as delectable cuisine is concerned. There are countless family-owned cafés that line the streets, offering indulgent local fare ranging from Puerto Rican café con leche and fish tacos to tres leches (sponge cake) and yucca mofongo (mash). There are also a number of larger established restaurants scattered across the city where you can sit down and tuck into a large variety of delightful grub. El Jibarito has been around for nearly 30 years and is a favorite amongst locals, reportedly serving the best shrimps in garlic sauce in the whole world. If it’s fresh seafood you are after, look no further than the La Vista Latin Grill that prides itself on making use of only the freshest ingredients when preparing its mouth-watering menu items.
Whenever you travel to Guavata in the heart of Cayey, you will be met with an old-worthy charm reminiscent of the South of Europe. Here, like in Old San Juan, visitors can expect to find streets lined with numerous lechoneras (roadside cafeterias) that specialize in the delicacy of the region: slow roasted whole pig. While the neighborhood may seem slightly deserted during the day, everything changes at around 3 pm when the crowds appear and the music starts. Apart from the succulent pork, you can also indulge in other treats, including blood sausage, chicken tamales, tostones (fried plantains), traditional fragrant rice and beans.
If you are looking for one of the best foodie experiences in the world, you definitely do not have to look any further than the streets of Puerto Rico. Once you have indulged in some of the delicious food prepared from only the freshest ingredients, you will find it very hard to return to eating the overly-processed fast foods that major restaurant chains are known for.